East Village resident Susan Schiffman has been photographing the apartments of rent-stabilized tenants living in the East Village for her Instagram account, I Am a Rent Stabilized Tenant. She will share some of the photos here for this ongoing EVG feature.
Tenant: Linda, since 1972.
Linda contacted me after seeing my first post on EV Grieve.
She said that her mother recently passed away. Her apartment is almost vacant.
"I will be returning the keys to the landlord in a couple of days," said Linda, who wanted a record of the place she had spent her whole life.
Although the apartment was almost completely empty of furniture and personal items, it was filled with strong emotions and memories. Linda's grandparents had lived and died there. So too had her father and now her mother.
"I have spent years fighting for this apartment," she said. "I am not in a relationship or have a family. Do you think I should stay and fight for this place?" [Ed note: Linda was not evicted, and decided to leave on her own to start anew somewhere else after living in this space her entire life.]
One of the earlier fights Linda had to win was proving that her mother was a resident there. Linda's mother did live in the apartment, confined to a hospital bed.
Linda said that it took "thousands of pages to prove this."
Her mother loved that the apartment was close to church and her favorite stores on 14th Street, such as the Stuyvesant Stationery shop She especially missed La Isla, the inexpensive Latin restaurant between Avenue A and Avenue B that closed in 2012.
If you're interested in inviting Susan in to photograph your apartment for an upcoming post, then you may contact her via this email.